Memento Mori – Latin for “remember you will die” – is a symbolic trope in Christian art that serves to remind the audience of their mortality.

At the center of this stylized, allegorical melodrama, a tyrannical matriarch lies helpless and alone on her deathbed. Her family – scattered in different corners of the house – impatiently wait for their unbeloved queen to finally die. The audience becomes a voyeur into this private, claustrophobic world where the Matriarch’s daughters trade biting insults, her maid steals her jewelry, and her grandchildren discuss gay sex while doing drugs. After she takes her last breath, surrounded by kitsch mementos in-lieu of adoring mourners, her family members, and the audience, are confronted with processing the death of someone who’s legacy is questionable. 

An unsympathetic and humorously vulgar analysis of the archetypal deathbed scene, “Memento Mori” probes the effects of inter-generational trauma, imposed moral conformity, and sexual repression within the microcosm of the family unit. 

Director’s note

“Memento Mori” is a melodramatic, Queer, European-arthouse film; set in Québec; directed, financed, and produced by Americans.

In the summer of 2019, my friend Taylor and I challenged ourselves to make a film in a foreign country; one where we didn’t know anyone, and where neither of us spoke the language fluently. A year later, this is the result of that challenge. Most people ask me if it was hard to direct in a language that is not my own. My answer is always– no. As a filmmaker, it is shockingly liberating. Cinema possesses a unique visceral semiotic.

It speaks a language unbound by the constraints of written words, and communicates directly with your subconscious. A piece of cinema is essentially a text in this sense – an exercise in meaning making. 

Directing in French freed me from being ruled by lines of dialogue – I was, in effect, alientated from the language. Instead, I was able to focus my energy on crafting the visual and sonic language of cinema. Every camera movement, every sound, every gesture, every color, every prop – they serve as linguistic building blocks. In “Memento Mori” there are no accidents; it’s just a question of learning how to read it. 

Derek Elliott Bagley


Taylor Wash
/First Assistant Director

Taylor is a queer Chicago based film producer. After receiving her B.A in English Literature, she began working in advertising at the Chicago Tribune. While at Tribune, her passion for film became the forefront. She started working part time as a production PA and soon after left the corporate world to pursue film full time. Taylor worked on local commercials before moving on to television (Amazon’s Utopia, NBC’s Chicago P.D, Disney+’s Encore). She now works as an assistant accountant on feature films, the latest being MGM’s Candyman, and produces projects in between studio gigs. She is the co-founder of Studio Sanssouci with Derek Elliott Bagley.

Derek Elliott Bagley  

A queer filmmaker from Chicago, Derek Elliott Bagley marks his Canadian cinematic début with the premiere of “Memento Mori”. He began his career as a political scientist and historian, receiving his BA in Government and MA in History and Philosophy; however, his true love and lifelong obsession has always been cinematic arts. Since adolescence his heroes have included the global leaders of arthouse cinema:  Bergman, Fassbinder, Sembène, Almodóvar, Jarman, Fellini, Denis, and Eisenstein to name a few. After 7 years of working in Democratic Party politics, Bagley decided to take a risk and leave his political work in order to make films. After 3 years of experimenting with short cinema and attending DePaul University’s graduate program in Cinema Production for a year – Bagley branched out on his own by co-founding Studio Sanssouci with his close friend and constant collaborator, Taylor Wash. He currently lives in Montréal with his husband, Marc-André – to whom this film is dedicated.

Claude Précourt
of Photography 

Be it crayons, watercolour, film, computers, or digital sensors – since his very early years, Claude Précourt has made pictures. His sensibilities are supported by a strong technical knowledge that has prepared him to become the cinematographer he is today. With a sharp eye for details, sense of humour, and unwavering calm, he works today in fiction, documentaries and commercials after having spent over 20 years in visual effects and 3d animation. Claude has contributed to a few shorts which are currently part of the official competition of the Fantasia Festival in Montréal, Canada and Fenêtres sur courts Festival, in Dijon, France.

Raphaël Trottier

Raphaël Trottier is a set and costume designer (B.A. 2020 Scenography EST-UQAM) and an art and fashion historian (B.A. 2015 UdeM, M.A. 2017 Concordia). He has designed costumes for the theater (Misanthrope 2018, Dick The Turd 2021) and for Quebec folk dance ensembles. He also has experience as a performer in folk dance and as a drag artist. In Memento Mori, He is responsible for costume, set and accessory design.

Ji Won Jeong
Assistant Art Director/
2nd Assistant Camera

Graduated in Cinema-Communications from Dawson College, Ji Won is currently pursuing her passion at Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema in Film Production. She aspires to be an inspirational international filmmaker and to create a universal film that will speak to all countries regardless of the different languages. 

Juliette Poitras

Juliette Poitras is a young Montreal producer and director who graduated from Concordia University in 2019. She is the recipient of the 2019 Mel Hoppenheim Award for Outstanding Overall Achievement in Film Production, and is currently developing her first feature film.


Frédérique Attuel

Frédérique Attuel, of French and Canadian nationality, is represented by Vickie M-D of L’agence Le Milieu. After completing a Masters Degree in Literature and Civilization in English, Frédérique decided to pursue a career as an actress in New York City. She took theater classes at the Herbert Berghof New York Studio and studied cinema at the Gene Frankel Workshop. Following her education in the States, she returned to Paris to continue her apprenticeship at the Cours Florent and the Cours Franco-Américain. Additionally, in order to open her career to directing, she obtained a Masters2 pro de cinema, and directed her first films. Indeed, in parallel with her career as an actress, she wishes to keep a practice of both writing and filming;  she makes a film every year where she features her quirky humor. Frédérique is currently based in Montréal and Paris. It is her wish to unite her two cultures, French and Canadian. This past year, she participated in and shot several Canadian films, and founded her own film production company. She is currently preparing her next film, a feature, that is in the process of being written. 

Zachary Courschene

With a lifelong passion for show business, Zachary Courchesne specializes in acting and modeling. A student of photography, the 19-year-old has had the opportunity to explore his creativity with artists he admires around the globe. It is his mission to create enjoyable atmospheres on set, make his makeup artists laugh, and merge with his directors. Zachary has modeled for many emerging photographers and established companies, and has been involved  in several film projects. This young man is an artistic chameleon and emerging talent in the art world. 

Annie Martin

Coming late to a party often means joining in when the fun has just started. Annie started her career late but has been having fun catching up ever since, all the while taking in the experience, admiring the craft, and in the case of Memento Mori, the art work. A party with enjoyable, imaginative people. So grateful to be part of it!

Charlotte Poitras

In addition to being a trained and experienced actress, Charlotte specializes in scenes of nudity, intimacy ,and erotic dance. She believes that, as a stuntman must be prepared not to be physically injured, a person who makes intimate scenes must guard against being harassed, and hurt psychologically. It is essential to respect others and to be respected. Her specialty has enabled her to obtain twenty roles on professional sets. Charlotte sets herself apart by being one of the few people in Québec trained as much in the craft of acting as in her specialty in eroticism. She is a full and active UDA member and full member ACTRA.

Francis Giguère
La Morte

Since childhood, Francis has always expressed his interest and passion for cinema through writing and drawing. Very early on, he developed the skills to make films with friends in his spare time. Directed towards the cinema profile in his graduate studies, he followed the academic path that led him to Montréal, continuing his training at the University of Montreal in the Film Studies program. It specializes in scriptwriting, with a choice of courses specific to this discipline. In recent years, he has been moving forward with more conviction in the field, working on various projects with a long list of differing roles on set. From training, to workshops to contracts, he expands his creative universe by bringing together several disciplines. He is a professional model and actor, areas that he puts forward and develops with determination.

Lisette L’Italien
La Bonne, Sylvie

“One day we’re all going to die Snoopy. – Yes, but every other day we’re going to live!” *- Charles Monroe Schulz, author of “Snoopy and Charlie Brown”. Despite her severe upbringing, Lisette dreamed of singing, dancing, and painting the world with her colors and stories. Aspiring to one day become a journalist in international relations, the untimely death of her elder brother put an end to her dreams of travel and writing. The reality of daily life and family pressures pushed her into the ranks of the labour market. Yet, the desire to write, and be involved in the arts continued to grow. And now, after a long and professional career, she can devote her free time to artistic pursuits. She spends her time writing theatre pieces, novels, essays, and posting blog columns. Her storytelling skills, elocution, colorful facial expressions and her ability to communicate lead to the encouragement of others to pursue performing arts despite her 58 years. It was this fascination for the arts and her will to try new things that brought her to the set of Memento-Mori; the need to continue living, a tribute in the memory of those who finish their journeys too early.

Lise Lalonde 
La Matriarche

To distract herself from the legal community where she worked 45 years, Lise Lalonde began to assist in recordings of TV and radio programs in October 2017. During a recording of a TV show, a friend on set began examining her carefully, and said that she saw thought Lise should be in front of the camera, not behind. That’s how she started appearing as an extra in the American series “Potomac River” in April 2018. Since then, she has been an extra in American and, Quebec films, commercials and music videos. She loves the technical aspect of mounting these projects.

Credits & Technical Information

Producer  – Taylor Wash 
Director  – Derek Elliott Bagley 
Assistant Directors  – Taylor Wash&Sandrine Maltais 
Screenplay  – Derek Elliott Bagley 
French Translation  – Marc-André Bolduc 
Director of Photography  – Claude Précourt
Art Director  – Raphael Trottier 
Assistant Art Director  – Jeong Ji won
1st ACG  – Gerard Martin 
2nd AC  – Jeong Ji won 
Gaffer  – Ali Hamida 
Key Grip  – Woodmy Estime 
Script Supervisor  – Hanna Donato 
Production Manager  – Juliette Poitras 
Sound Mixer  – Edward Almeida 
Makeup  – Ashley O’Gorman 
Music Supervisor  – Max Mueller 
Original Music  – Max Mueller 
Editor  – Ryan O’Mara 
Colourist  – Claude Précourt
Sound Design – Matt Heritz & Marc-André Bolduc


Country of Origin : Canada
Logline : “Remember you will die…”
Language : French
Subtitles : English
Genre : Satirical Melodrama
Completion Date : June 2020
Production Budget : $20,000
Runtime: 15 mins, 13 secs
Shooting Format : Digital 4K
Screening Format : DCP
Aspect Ratio : 16:9
Sound : Stereo